• Loading stock data...
Monday, May 20, 2024

Regular-Season Euro Soccer Matches in U.S. Closer As Legal Barriers Fall

  • The pathway for European leagues to play official matches in the U.S. remains uncertain.
  • The NFL touts its still-expanding international profile.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The prospect of European soccer leagues playing regular-season matches in the U.S. has been a highly tantalizing prospect for many promoters and stadium operators for years.

Recent legal developments have now made such events truly possible, but the final and critical step of those leagues actually agreeing to do so remains uncertain. 

Earlier this month, FIFA settled a long-running lawsuit filed by promoter Relevent Sports, controlled by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, that had alleged antitrust violations regarding the global governing body’s prior policy emphasizing leagues’ playing official matches within their own respective territories. 

That legal action is still proceeding with the U.S. Soccer Federation as a defendant, but FIFA is now moving to change its policy blocking domestic games being played in the territories of other federations. The emerging shift, however, is not immediately opening the floodgates toward European matches being booked for U.S. facilities.

“It’s not part of our current plans, it really isn’t,” said Richard Masters, Premier League CEO, on Friday following a meeting of the 34-nation European Leagues group. “No one quite knows exactly what is happening, but the door looks ajar potentially in America, at any rate, for matches abroad.”

Massive Appeal

For years, even friendlies among European soccer powers have routinely sold out the largest pro and college football stadiums in the U.S. Putting more meaningful matches, as well as the sport’s biggest stars that sometimes skip those friendlies, in those venues would undoubtedly fuel even more fan frenzy, and represent something of an inverse of what the NFL has seen in countries like Germany. 

To that end, LaLiga is much more bullish on the prospect, an unsurprising stance since that league in 2018 proposed a match between Barcelona, then still featuring Lionel Messi, and Girona that was blocked by FIFA, helping lead to the legal battle with Relevent.

“I don’t know when, but this time LaLiga will play official games abroad,” LaLiga president Javier Tebas told Spanish newspaper Expansión. “I think it could be from the 2025–26 season. An official game in the United States would strengthen our position in the North American market, which is the second [biggest] for LaLiga after Spain.”

Worry-Free Travel

While the U.S. proves to be an elusive market for top European soccer leagues’ regular-season games, the NFL continues to have no problem taking American football aboard. 

Ahead of Thursday’s NFL draft, commissioner Roger Goodell predicted that the league would be playing 16 regular-season games annually outside of the U.S. in 10 years’ time. This season, the league will play five games internationally, tying the record number from last year. “We’ll try to get to eight or nine in the next couple years,” Goodell said during an interview on ESPN, confirming plans that could result in a new Sunday morning TV window for the NFL.

In September, the NFL will play its first game in Brazil, and next year it will be headed to Spain. “The reaction we’re getting from fans every time we play in a new market is incredible,” Goodell said. “There are a lot of markets that want us to play there, and we’re actively looking at all those.”

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Historic Premier League Season Closes As U.S. Influence Expands

Man City can expect to receive roughly $79 million from the EPL’s system of merit payments.

WNBA’s Boom Time: Record Growth, Clark’s Debut, a Controversial Deal

League attendance is up by nearly a third, while the Liberty set a single-game ticketing record.

Fanatics Sues Marvin Harrison Jr., Says He Leaked ‘Misleading’ Info to ESPN

Harrison’s side says the two sides don’t have a contract, which Fanatics disputes.

Chaos at the PGA Championship: Here’s What We Know

The No. 1 golfer in the world nearly didn’t make it to Valhalla Golf Club.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Bare Knuckle Fighting Comes Out of the Shadows

0:00

Featured Today

exclusive

‘This Is Semi-Pro’: Inside One Arena Football League Team’s Collapse

The collapse of the Georgia Force, as told by the players who lived it.
Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.
May 19, 2024

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.
May 18, 2024

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.
May 14, 2024

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Adidas
Multiple - USA Careers
FanDuel
Multiple - USA Careers

The NBA’s Final Four May Not Be Exactly What the League Envisioned

This final four will need to lean on its own unique drama to draw big audiences.
May 20, 2024

WNBA Investigating Las Vegas Tourism Arm’s $100K Payments to Aces Players

The sponsorship is worth more than several players’ salaries.
May 20, 2024

Sports World’s Ground Zero: Dallas to Host NBA and NHL Conference Finals

American Airlines Center is the first arena to host NHL, NBA conference finals games in the same season since 2003.
Sponsored

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
May 19, 2024

PGA Championship Drama Nearly Delivers a Major Boost to LIV Golf

Xander Schauffele takes home $3.3 million for his victory.
May 17, 2024

The WNBA Rookies Are Creating a New Celebrity Row

Major celebs like Kim Kardashian and Latto are showing up for the newbies.
May 16, 2024

Preakness in Spotlight: Chance of a Triple Crown Winner Bolsters Status

The presence of Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan gives a big boost to the Triple Crown’s middle leg.
May 15, 2024

PGA Championship Setting Revenue Records, but LIV Drama Still Looms

The PGA Championship tees off Thursday morning at Valhalla Golf Club.